Between 2014 and 2018 VW will invest $7 billion in North America on plants and products. Since 2008 VW has spent $4 billion on the brand. Part of that money went to develop a refined and redesigned Jetta for 2015.
Jetta is VW’s best-selling car in America. And the new 2015 offers more value, technology (Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning, and Park Distance Control), redesigned interior, and perfected exterior styling.
Jetta has an improved EA288 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel turbo engine that produces 150 horsepower, an increase of 10 horses, and gets 46 mpg with manual and 45 mpg with automatic. Improved engine plus superb dynamics equal better mileage.
The Jetta is also available with a 2.0-liter natural aspirated (34 mpg highway) and a 1.8-liter turbocharged TSI engine. Hybrid and GLI will follow later in 2015.
Numerous upscale interior improvements make for great eye appeal. Chrome-edged tubes for the instruments and available color multifunction steering wheel is filled with controls for the audio system, the multifunctional display, and the navigation system.
Bluetooth is standard, while dual zone automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers are available. About 80 percent of Jettas have keyless access with push button start.
Jetta has extended its wheelbase to 104.4-inches (2.9 inches added), providing a truly spacious interior with impressive rear-seat legroom of 38.1 inches. The roofline is gently arching, which means ample headroom of 37.1-inches for rear seat passengers.
The 15.5 cubic feet of useable trunk space can be increased by folding forward the 60/40 split rear seatback. There is also a pass-through feature to help accommodate longer items like skis or lumber.
I think the best feature is the instrument panel gauges framed in chrome with a new “tunnel” design. Gauges are easy to find and positioned to catch reflective light, but discourage bright sunlight. All standard features have been updated and reconfigured throughout the model lineup.
The extended wheelbase mentioned earlier has allowed the designers to increase dimensions by incorporating clear, precise lines and muscular surfaces to impart a ”timeless elegance.”
Starting at the front, the coupe-like incline of the windshield and pleasing horizontal lines define the new Jetta. A new redesigned radiator grille with three cross fins, a new bumper, and available Bi-Xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system trump other changes.
The new bumper and its air intake up-front help to reduce air drag, as does the updated rain gutter near the A-pillar.
We have mentioned the outside front and center of Jetta’s exterior, so now let’s just focus on some of the new redesigned features for the rear. The new design includes a new trunk lid, taillights, emblems, and bumper. The aerodynamic trailing edge of the trunk integrates in a spoiler that lines up with the car’s silhouette near the “character line,” that extends into the rear fender.
When compared to Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, and Toyota Corolla, Jetta TDI leads on segmented trunk space of 15.5 cu ft., horsepower of 170 and torque of 184 lb.-ft. and, highway mpg of 46 mpg . This is the best EPA highway mileage among the non-hybrids in class.
The cabin is quiet and comfortable. It handles well, but has a little sway on the deep curves. Great torque gets you there fast, and the technology is uncomplicated and easily found. The thing I like best is the Jetta personality. It has swagger with a smile.
The 2015 Jetta is offered in four trim levels: Base, S, SE, and SEL with a total of 13 equipment levels. The absolute bare-minimum base with no air conditioning is $16,215 and factory orders only; 2.0-L S is $18,425; 1.8T SE $18,995; and 1.8T SEL $25,380. The 2.0L TDI SEL is $26, 410.
Look for the 2015 VW Jetta in showrooms in the next two weeks.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.